10 Considerations when buying LED lighting
Here are our top ten things to consider when making the switch to LED Lighting.
This article is part of our series on energy saving and water saving products to help you understand what distinguishes quality from poor products and what questions to ask before buying.
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1 Which fitting?
Before you jump into searching for LED, you’ll need to know what fitting of light you are replacing. This can range from a traditional screw base to the increasingly popular GU10 base.
The best place to start is to check details on the box of the lights you currently buy. Use our LED Jargon Buster to help decipher the information on that box and go from there.
2 Domestic or commercial?
Manufacturers design different types of LED light with different uses in mind. Many lamps are designed specifically for commercial use. Our website dropdown menu separates our LED range into typically domestic and typically commercial lighting to direct you to the right place.
Commercial lighting also typically comes with extra safety features or to meet specific needs – though these come at an additional cost.
3 Savings potential
You can roughly work out how much you can save by seeing how much power (W) your current lighting uses, and comparing that to how much power a corresponding LED uses.
LEDs also last much longer than traditional lighting, so you will save a lot of money over time by not having to buy replacements as frequently. A quality LED bulb or lamp can last for 50,000 hours, which means easily more than a decade of use before it needs replacing.
See our LED FAQs for more information on how LED lighting can save you money.
4 Beam angle
Beam angle was once something that only concerned lighting designers and most home users didn’t need to think about it.
However, LED is much more directional in nature than traditional light sources. Most LED bulbs will have technology to spread the light across a large area, but don’t get caught out by an LED spotlight with a narrow beam angle which doesn’t work for you.
You can buy LED bulbs with a narrow “spotlight” effect through to a wide beam seen with traditional energy-guzzling bulbs.
For more information on beam angles see our LED Jargon Buster.
5 Colour temperature
Picking the right colour temperature is a very personal decision as it helps set the atmosphere of a room. Simply, the colour temperature is the colour the light from the lamp looks.
See our LED Jargon Buster for more information on colour temperature before choosing.
6 Colour rendering
Colour rendering will be of heightened importance in some scenarios. Colour rendering describes how closely an object’s colour matches, when lit, natural light conditions.
For more information on colour rendering see our LED Jargon Buster. If you have a specific requirement for expert colour rendering then get in touch.
Efficacy is the technical term for the efficiency of a light source: how much light is produced per unit of power.
If you want to make the most savings then you should pick a lamp with a high efficacy score – but some find this difficult to understand. To help out consumers, the EU produces energy ratings from E to A++ for lighting which is loosely based on efficacy. All LED is A rated or above, but for extra punch look toward the A++ rated lamps.
For further detail regarding efficacy, see our LED Jargon Buster.
As with some traditional lighting, some LEDs will need extra consideration in the shape of external drivers. Many LED bulbs have built-in drivers. LEDs work with direct current (DC) and the driver changes the electrical signal from the mains from AC to the correct voltage, regulating the current flowing through the LED during operation.
Pairing LEDs with external drivers can get very technical, so be prepared to seek expert advice. We also provide detailed information in our Introduction to LED drivers and lighting
Associated with the driver issue is dimming. Unlike traditional lighting, dimming with LED is more complex but with the right guidance you will achieve the dimming functions you need. It is important, however, to seek expert advice.
We recommend this approach as ensuring a dimming system will work often requires a technical background but we also provide guidance in our LED Dimming Guide series of articles.
Most LEDs are manufactured to make things as simple as possible when replacing older, more inefficient types of lighting. For example, you have nothing to worry about if you are buying replacement bulbs or most spotlights.
There are some exceptions. For example, commercial LED lighting often requires fittings to be rewired. This is especially true of tube lighting as the wiring necessary for fluorescent tubes can damage LED tubes.
Please seek advice on whether the LED you are buying needs any rewiring and be prepared to include costs for the work of an electrician. See our LED FAQs for more information.
See our range of LED lighting.